Hop on the Spring Swing

Pretty interesting Spring we’ve had. With record snows in the Midwest and Plains during May, a well below average tornado count, and local heavy rains creating record river crests; this Spring continues to surprise and add variety.

What started out as nice spring showers, added up to become a spring surplus of water in major streams and rivers across central and southern lower Michigan. I witnessed the Chippewa River through Mount Pleasant crest at 10.46′ on April 19. The ASOS station at Mount Pleasant Airport (KMOP) recorded 2.57″ of rain that week, after a previous deluge of 3.02″ the week before. Combine this rainfall over a generous portion of Michigan and river banks are going to be tested. This event was #10 on a list of historical crests of the Chippewa River below Mt. Pleasant. Here is a list of the other 9 that out-measured 2013’s event. (USGS) A few photos of a night time trip to Island Park can be found on my Flickr page, or the sidebar.

Historical top-10 Chippewa River crests through Mt. Pleasant.

Historical top-10 Chippewa River crests through Mt. Pleasant.

This was only locally. The big headlines were in southwestern Michigan and east central Michigan. Saginaw County, MI declared a State of Emergency on April 24th with waters flooding much of the low lying farmland and residential areas. The Saginaw flooding is perhaps the most recognizable on the below loop I made from the Aqua polar orbiting satellite. A large hole of water appears near Saginaw, MI. Also note areas of lake ice that have been reduced, as well as increased spring foliage.

 photo 2013riverflooding2_zpsd3c91872.gif

Before and after false color Aqua satellite images. (SSEC, MODIS Today)

Other comparison images can be found on NASA’s Earth Observatory website: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=80977&src=eorss-nh

To the southwest, the Grand River flows east/west. This also was newsworthy as river levels broke records in Grand Rapids. There were some amazing photos taken in comparison, and in astonishment. Some downtown businesses had water up to the windows. At times the windows resembled aquarium tanks with fish checking out the strange invisible walls.

grandrivcrest

Historical top-10 Grand River crests through Grand Rapids, MI.

Dave Guthrie compares the flooding to a previous photo he took of downtown Grand Rapids.

Rough week in the Plains, I’m sure may of you have heard. One of the reasons I took interest in the weather was being afraid of it at a young age. Soon curiosity grew, and I wanted to find out how this force of nature was formed. Thus began this journey. It is times like these I am reminded that the weather I love to learn about can rear a really ugly face now and again.

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About gweatherc
Live in Michigan and enjoy observing the weather. Want to pursue it as a career! Currently taking classes at Central Michigan University.

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